Heart Health

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The Bible says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” God is warning us to protect our hearts and keep it healthy. So this month, with February being Heart Health month, I wanted to ask, “How do you keep your heart healthy?”

Here are 5 quick ways the God tells us to protect our hearts. Hope you will share others.

1. Be honest, speak uplifting words and be someone of Integrity.
Don’t only ensure you do these things, but keep people who don’t follow these life rules far from you. Stay away from drama and lips that cause and enjoy drama.
(Prov. 4:24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.)


2.  Live in the now, don’t look back in regret of the past.

You can’t change the past. All you can do is repent if applicable, take the learned lessons and move forward.
(Prov. 4:25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you.)

3. Renew Your Mind.
Stay connected to God– pray, talk to Him, read your Bible.
(Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.)

4. Love the Lord with Everything in You.
(Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.)

5. Speak God’s Affirming Words and Truth.
I do this by writing some affirmations that speak to my current life situations and start each day speaking those affirmations over my life.

(Psalms 19:14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.)

What do you do to keep your heart healthy? 

Remodel

This weekend we put the finishing touches on a condo I purchased 18 years ago. It has been rented for the past 12 years and in the rush of preparing to turn it over to the next renter, there hasn’t been much time for remodel, upgrades, etc. Just the basics. Fresh paint, cleaning and some touchups.

This year we took a little time to go beyond the surface. We gave it some new bones, a level foundation in terms of new flooring, cabinets and some appliances. My sweet husband also went into the walls and assessed that the outlet boxes rusted in the wall and some plugs were not as secure or supplying power and updated the electrical. He pulled things out of the walls that were outdated (old intercoms, wall radios and even a wall-vac). He repaired walls, added more lighting and removed old, rusty fixtures. He gave it a severely needed overhaul. (The unit celebrates its 50th next year.)

I looked at the external touchups needed, what I could see with my eye, but he started going beyond that and looked beyond the exterior blemishes to get to the heart of what was needed.

As I went to see the final product this weekend, I was thinking wow, we should have done this a long time ago, but you know we were busy and this took time and a whole lot of energy.

The more I think about this, it reminds me of our lives. We are always rushing off to the next thing that we often just have time for the basics — a quick prayer out the door and maybe a quick verse but over time, we, just like that old condo need a remodel. We need to update, upgrade, gut and remove the rusty parts of us in order to align to the needs of who we are today. A fresh coat of paint (a new outfit, haircut, or for us women a little blush or bronzer to make us look a little more alert and rested) will only make us look like we are doing ok, but like the condo we need a remodel from the inside. What do I mean?

We may need to refresh our power supply. We need to ensure that we are properly connected to God’s power supply. Is it lose? Hanging on by a thread? Do we have a poor connection? Is it overloaded? (I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:5)

What does our foundation look like? I am reminded of the old hymnal, my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. (Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. Luke 6: 47-48)

Are we walking through life with hurt within from the past that we need to go inward and remove or at least work through? Old hurt living within us has no more function than a 1970’s wall-vac in a 2020 condo (that doesn’t even have carpet anymore). (Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!… Isaiah 43:18-19)

Maybe we need to add a little more light to our lives (in terms of what we do, what we read, and who we interact with)? (Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16.)

Remodels take time and they are definitely costly. Not in terms of money as in the condo but they cost us emotionally. There is a cost of digging deep and it absolutely takes time. Likely more time than a 2-3 week condo remodel, but God wants us to continue to do deeper. To look more and more like him. To prune to the old fruit so that we can bear good fruit. To not only look the part but be the part. This year, perhaps we can assess if we are up to God’s code and if not consider updating our connection, gutting out what doesn’t look like Him on the inside, working through the updated issues of old and beautifying our heart. Everything is so much more beautiful after a remodel — even us.

Happy Valentine’s Day

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There may be some of you who are opposed to Valentine’s Day. Some may say it’s just another day to commercialize love. (I think it is only that if you allow it to be.) I won’t get into the history of Saint Valentine but I love love. I love Valentine’s Day. Not because of flowers or candy or gifts, but I just love the extra emphasis on love that spreads across the world at the same time. In today’s world, we need a little more love. We need a lot more Valentine’s Days on the calendar. Some may feel a bit bah humbug about Valentine’s Day because maybe they are getting a divorce, don’t have a significant other, or are just having a difficult time with their partner.

Regardless of whether we have eros love (romantic love), we can still appreciate and cherish the other loves in our lives. The love of family and friends, parents, children, siblings or even pets. Most importantly we can spend today basking in the love that Christ has for us. He love us – so much. Unlike the human love we share with our partners, family and friends — it is perfect and without fault or condition. It has always been there and it will never end. He wants nothing from us but our heart.

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There is one more love that I pray we all appreciate today — Ourselves. Self-love is sometimes the hardest. We are sometimes the hardest on ourselves. Our bodies, our accomplishments, you name it, but each of us is special. Each of us was made amazing and fabulous and before we can expect another human to love us unconditionally, we each must start a beautiful love affair on the inside with the person in the mirror.

Regardless of which loves you have at this very moment, Happy Valentine’s Day to you. There is love in your life worth celebrating and I hope you will celebrate them all. Take a little time today to appreciate your loves, do something sweet for your loves, and spend time with them. Take some time today to love on all the loves in your life. Take some time to read 1 Corinthians 13 today and apply it to all of your loves.

…and if by chance you don’t hear this from anyone else today….

I love you with the love of God and so does He.

Be blessed and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Verbs and Nouns

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I love to learn. As annoying as it is to my kids, I find knowledge and facts interesting. It’s funny because this year my word is FOCUS and I meant that fully in the sense of the verb. I want to be focused (the adjective). I want to focus on completing the things I have started and doing the things that God wants me to focus on. As I have been doing that, some of those things I have been focusing on have started to come into FOCUS – the noun. (I find that kind of cool — geeky but cool). I can’t help but think of the statement that as we take steps to move toward God, He takes steps to move toward us. As I start to do my part and FOCUS on the things the He wants me to focus on, He moves toward me in those things and provides me more information on the central point, the FOCUS area. Sometimes it is hard for us to FOCUS because we have so many questions – the what, when, how, where, and why but when we move out on faith, God provides the answers. Maybe that’s why faith and works go together. Maybe it is because we need the faith to do the works (God’s work at least).

If there is something that God wants you to do, be, go, or try, push through the questions. Move in spite of the what, when, where, how and why and just go. Take up your cross and go (move). As you move, He will provide breadcrumbs when you least expect them. He will provide you with just enough answers to keep going. Try not to be greedy and want all the breadcrumbs at once. Rather, be thankful for the breadcrumbs as they come and keep moving. Your verbs will equal God’s nouns 🙂

Be blessed!

Transparency

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This year I just want all types of growth. As I type that, I think watch out because you know what happens when you say things like that. EEK. But nonetheless, I do. I want to expand beyond my current self and boundaries into being the person that God wants me to be to myself and most importantly others. That requires a definite increase in my transparency. Some of my more recent posts about rest and growing weary was a big step for me in terms of being transparent and I want to continue down that path. I think it is one thing to share what is on your mind but sharing your heart is a level deeper. Sharing your heart can mean sharing your fears and emotions which while that can be scary, it can feel really good. For me, it has definitely felt good. I hope that you will feel safe enough to engage, to be transparent and to share with me as I share with you. In this time of dispersed living, I pray this space can become a safe community for feelings, fears, encouragement and motivation, where everyone feels not just welcomed but supported. God Applied is about applying God to life (this very complex, interesting, life filled with differences). It is not about being judge-y, perfect, or saintly. It’s about living life with all the love, help, insight and tools that God gives us. One of those tools is each other. God says in Prov. 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Be amazing! Be Blessed!

What’s Your Distraction

Last week when I rested, I tried to keep in my living up to my word of the year – FOCUS. I looked at my list of things that I would focus: being present with my family, my physical fitness, time with God, and writing. I kept focus on all but the writing — whether it is my next book, my blog, or professional articles. I’m proud that I maintained some focus but the one thing God told me to do this year was write. I would say but God which audience, which topics, which, which, which and He would just reply – JUST WRITE. I promise you I am not one of those people who walk around saying God said this and God said but clearly God has been telling me to JUST WRITE.

You could encourage me and say but something had to give. It didn’t. I gave up the one thing I am supposed to be doing so that I could have time to indulge in trying to do things outside of my focus list. I was distracted by my emotions. I took on an additional client. I looked for replacement work when the whole time, I was supposed to be writing.

The more I pondered this I found it interesting that the one thing my distraction distracted me from was the one thing God wants me to do. My distraction distracted me from my purpose. Often times it is the one thing that we don’t do, don’t prioritize, don’t make time for, or don’t feel good enough to do, is the one thing that God really wants us to do. It’s the thing that we were created to do and give to the world. Whatever you were created to do, be, or give; whatever your gift to the world is push through whatever tries to keep you from it.

Rest

Happy Sunday Friends! It’s been a little over a week since my last post. I was exhausted in every sense of the word and I needed some recovery. Funny, just as soon as I declared my word of the year FOCUS, I found myself taken in a direction to shake my focus. That is just how it can be. When you set your mind and heart towards the things God wants for you and has for you, the distractor comes with his distractions. Trust me, he knows you and he knows what distracts you and throws you off course. Yes, last week, I needed rest and I did get that, but I also needed to push through my distraction and maintain my focus. Rest can be physical – which I definitely needed, but rest can also be for the mind and emotions. That is the kind of rest that comes from giving what concerns you and upsets you and hurts you over to God. That rest comes from meditating on his Word, his promises, and speaking those affirming words over your life. It is the rest that comes from closing your eyes, cuddling up like a child and resting in the comfort and FAITH that God will take care of you. Sometimes it seems easier to try to take care of ourselves, but it drains us. Why do that when truly handing it over to God will do just the opposite — restore us?

As I write this, I am still working through the second part of the rest — the true handoff. Am I the only one? What do you do to truly give your challenges over to God (not just in words or meditation but deep down in your heart)? Hope to hear from you and thank you for the prayers last week.

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Don’t Grow Weary

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It’s Friday guys. My cheery nature wants to say Happy Friday with exuberance but this week I have honestly not been feeling so cheery. This week, I have been feeling tired, drained, worn out, overworked and worst of all underappreciated and undervalued. My energy is tapped and my mind, body and spirit is running on fumes.

The past two mornings I skipped my workout so I could start working at 5:30 a.m. Trying to stop this bad habit before it solidifies, I fought the urge to work and instead did what I needed to do for my well-being — and worked out. Of course that doesn’t stop the mind from thinking of the massive to do list…at least not my mind…and even during my workout I felt the drain even before starting my workday.

As I worked out, I talked to God a bit (well maybe vented is a better word) and even released a few tears. In that God reminded me not to grow weary in well-doing. Well-doing is well-doing. It isn’t necessarily just in giving, or serving others or things we consider spiritual. It is also in those other areas like work, life commitments, chores, and other things that wear us down.

This morning God was giving me a hug, reminding me not to grow weary but to keep going. Keep being my cheery self, keep giving that to others, continue to do good work with a good attitude amd let him do the rest. He reminded me of the need to affirm that He is my provider. That he will provide whatever rest, time, additional resources, minimal interruptions, and mental recovery that I need if I just push through and not grow weary.

So with that said I thank God for a good day in advance, a blessed day, an accomplished day. I thank Him for giving me the emotional and spiritual replenishing needed. If you feel weary today, this week or even this month for whatever your reasons are, remember God’s promises to see you through. Let it refresh you and preserve you. Let it be the inertia that pushes you through. Have a Happy Friday and Be Blessed!

Project Manage My Life

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I am a project manager at heart. PMP, Agile, SCRUM certified project manager whether it be IT systems, management systems, data, training, digital marketing, you name it. Yet as I think this morning about my life, I realized hey, maybe I need to approach life with some of the same tenets of Project Management.

This morning I decided my word for the year is FOCUS because I really want to complete things that I have desired for a few years now and continually get distracted and pulled from. As I decided on my word of FOCUS and thinking about the things that I wanted to FOCUS on, I could really see how easy it could be to lose focus. Funny thing is that we do things for other people but sometimes forget to apply our professional expertise to our personal life. To stay focused, I need a clear scope, clear goals, a clear plan and roadmap for each goal, some clear measurable targets and status meetings with none other but myself each month to stay on track. Most importantly, I have to manage my scope creep like I would for any other client. It’s hard for your own goals. There is so much you want to accomplish but this year I will stay focused. This year I will project manage myself — in terms of my goals. Some people may see that as a bad thing. Some will see it as being rigid, but think about it, this is how successful initiatives happen all the time. Why can’t we see accomplishing our goals as successful initiatives to bring to fruition. Besides, I’m running this project in an Agile environment so no worries, flexibility will be built in. 🙂

God is so cool in that He puts within us or around us what we need, to be who He wants us to be, both to ourselves in the world. As you think about your word this year and your goals, I know you will find the same to be true.

What’s your word for this year? What are you doing to stay on track?

While it is yet night….

I think the woman in Proverbs 31 was on to something. She was a busy, juggling, multitasking and very accomplished mama from my vantage point. How did she do it all? I have heard some say they don’t like her. I’ve heard it said that she makes it hard for anyone to live up to. That the pressure to be like her is too much, but I think she’s a BOSS. She was a Renaissance woman before there were Renaissance women. She took care of her family, she pursued her interests, she engaged in some entrepreneurial activities, she was encouraging, supportive to her husband, present with her family, she served her community and she kept herself together. (#selfcare)

She’s not an unrealistic ideal, she’s a role model for balance.

People may read Prov. 31 and infer that she was exhausted. I mean she was up before the sun each day. Again, I read that as a wise woman who realized that there is no better time to get done what you want to get done (or maybe even need to get done) than while it is yet night. In other words — the house is quiet and the family hasn’t started to stir.

Have you ever noticed that when the whole house is up, you can’t seem to find time to accomplish what you set out to do.  It’s classic, as wives, moms, employees, career women, we get sucked into the day once the day starts for everyone else.

For the past few weeks I have gotten up while it is yet still night (4-5 days a week) and I have been able to develop a routine…a consistent routine. A routine that makes me feel that I am moving toward my goals.. I have time to workout 4-5 days a week, have my vitamins, tea and a healthy breakfast, say my affirmations, read my bible, and sometimes like today, write a bit in the morning too.  It feels good to make time for what’s is needed to start my day on the right trajectory. It feels right to put on my own mask first as they say in the airline industry. When I do that, I can be a more present mom, supportive spouse, and less annoyed colleague. I can manage my work, my home and even find time for my pursuits.

I used to think it was a suggestion to start the day while it is yet quiet but I now think maybe this amazing woman wasn’t doing it as function of preference but rather wisdom.

Be balanced, be blessed!

Latoya